OK, I know I said someone else would do this week but here we are and Updating you is a useful distraction from getting stressy for Regenerate on Thursday. So I’ll just quickly punt the event at you for one last time and then we’ll do numbers.
Here’s tomorrow’s agenda so you can see if you fancy it. If you do then we have about a dozen in-person tickets left plus any cancellations, so you can still get in. You’ll be joining around 600 others across in-person and online; if you do want to stream the event live there are no restrictions on numbers but you have to register for the streaming platform in advance so we can keep the bots out. Either way tickets are here; last chance.
|Fireside Chat with Tom McPhail and Paul Maynard MP, Minster for Pensions
|From Our Own Correspondent: regulatory lessons from Australia and the USA, with a live link to both because life’s not stressful enough
|State of the Adviser Nation: first reveal with TV’s Steve Nelson and Rich Mayor
|Transcending: what does it really take to serve truly wealthy clients?
|AI for the win: a beginner’s guide
|Technical bonanza: bonds
|Keynote: Kate Blatchford-Hick, FCA
|Let’s regenerate: stories from the front line
|Close, drinks, nonsense
So now you know. Full details including speakers and so on are on the website, and that’s also where you book. Hope some of you will grab a last-minute ticket either online or in person. We’ll see you onstage.
NUMBERS, OH LORD, THE NUMBERS
The lights are up, the stage is set and it looks…not pretty. Q4 2023 outflows were up over 50% on the same quarter in 2022 (£9.85bn to £14.9bn). The full year outflow position was up over a third on the year before; over £53bn went walkabout. Some of this turns up again in inflows, but not as much as you’d think; this is mainly money Doing Things.
We can’t publish platform-by-platform data yet as stock market reporting requirements for various listed businesses mean it’s strengstens verboten, but there are some hard numbers out there. My observation: I think this is the first time in 17 years knocking around platforms where outflows aren’t necessarily keyed to the strength, health or propositional capability of particular platforms. A new experience for many. Which isn’t to say that the sands aren’t shifting; it’ll soon be time to see who’s fit for the next decade, not the last.
Chinks of light are there though: advisers didn’t take this lying down and you kept business flowing. Part of not having to serve everyone all the time means that when things are tight there are always more people to speak to, and no-one does this better than the financial planning profession. Gross flows in Q4 2023 were up over 16% on the same quarter in 2022.
And the stock market was relatively benign meaning total assets under administration held their own; £53bn is a lot but compared to the total advised platform sector as we judge it of £575bn at the end of 2023 it maybe doesn’t look quite so bad. This is up 9% or so on the end of 2022.
We were out in the field with our annual State of the Advice Nation omnibus adviser sentiment exercise in Q4, so asked you all about outflows and pressures from the cost-of-living crises. We launch that formally tomorrow, and the results will show that the main reasons cited were investors supporting themselves and family members with the increase in household expenses, followed by concerns over capital preservation in volatile markets. We also saw a shift in retirement income strategies, with an increase in the use of annuities for more risk-averse clients.
A tough year, then, but one which shows the resilience of the profession and the vital nature of what you do. And as firms fit themselves for the years to come, with client requirements shifting, new political and economic realities emerging, regulation beefing up, technology accelerating and more, it strikes me we couldn’t have picked a better theme for this week than ‘regeneration’. Firms will adapt, and thrive, and the seeds of what they need to do so have been there from the start; all the numbers are just the aggregation of millions of individuals, being advised and served by someone they trust, and that’s the most important thing.
Some #REGENERLINKS for you below. I’m on holiday next week sleeping the event off, so Ben will Update you. Meanwhile I’ll look forward to saying hello to as many of you as I possibly can tomorrow.
And finally … your music choice needs to be something to get us pumped up and ready for the stage. I’ve got quite a lot of Jane’s Addiction going round in my head, but the videos are probably a bit, er, specialist for here. So instead let’s have a song from when Metallica was good, albeit performed well after that point. Please enjoy of Hit The Lights, and bang that head that doesn’t bang.